Delta-Montrose Electric Association is expanding outside its service territory to begin offering high-speed Elevate Fiber in the City of Delta. While occasionally rivals in the world of electrical service, DMEA and the city are closely aligned in the desire to bring broadband to the community, first to businesses and then to residences.
Elevate Fiber, a wholly owned subsidiary of DMEA, has been rolling out high-speed internet to communities in Delta and Montrose counties since November 2016. It will be the first internet service provider to begin delivering broadband on the network built in the city in collaboration with the county, municipalities and Region 10.
The investment that the city made in fiberoptic lines has helped facilitate the decision by DMEA to provide last-mile service. "You will finally see the end result of those efforts," said Jason Bronec, DMEA CEO. He and Mark Kurtz, project manager, updated the Delta City Council on DMEA's installation plans last week.
Both referred to economic development as the primary catalyst for high speed internet, which is expected to promote a remote workforce, support "aging in place" for our elderly residents, and connect our students. The project has also put former coal miners to work building the Elevate network across the Delta-Montrose communities.
In Delta, Kurtz said about two-thirds of the fiber will be installed overhead on city power poles; a third will be laid underground. (The same opportunity will be made available to competitors.)
"I should think we should have the first businesses turned up within 90 days," Kurtz said. Businesses will be offered a variety of prices for a variety of speeds ... but none of them are slow, he promised.
Elevate representatives will soon be visiting local businesses and getting people to sign contracts. Elevate is using crowdsourcing to put prospective customers on the map for service. DMEA has divided its service territory -- and the city -- into zones. As the zones reach their preregistration goal, Elevate releases them for final design and construction. "We let that demand tell us where to go build," Kurtz said. A link can be found on dmea.com.
Elevate is committed to keeping prices competitive, but said rates in the City of Delta will not be the same as those in the rest of Elevate's service area due to pole attachment and fiber use agreements in the city. "If there are additional costs, it will be to cover additional expenses," said Kurtz. "Above and beyond that, we want to get as many people here on to our network as we possibly can, so we will keep the prices as competitive as possible."
Elevate currently offers 100 mps of base service, phone service and soon video (TV) offerings.
"We are excited to partner with the City of Delta to take this project across the finish line," Bronec said.
Glen Black, community development director for the City of Delta, confirmed that a second internet service provider -- Clear Networks, based in Montrose -- is also finalizing agreements with the city to provide last-mile service in Delta.